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Dementia Care Transitions Project Receives National Innovations Award

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) recently awarded the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) an Aging Innovations Awards for its Dementia Care Transitions Project. The award recognizes programs creating innovative practices that the Aging Services Network can emulate.

The project is part of a six-year, demonstration initiative focusing on systems change that MAAA designed to increase detection, diagnosis, and care management of dementia. The program connects individuals with dementia to primary care for diagnostic assessments and to community resources for education and support. It is the only project in the nation working within hospitals to address the role of acute care for persons with dementia as well as their transition to primary care for follow-up assessment.

Living with dementia means depending heavily on family caregivers. Partners like the Alzheimer’s Association and Eldercare Partners provide critical nonmedical services such as care consultation and caregiver coaching.

The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging began its work to support earlier detection of dementia in 2004. Its partners, HealthEast’s St. Joseph’s Hospital and North Memorial Medical Center, have screened more than 15,000 patients, with more than 25% of those people showing positive signs and symptoms of dementia. Both health systems have successfully embedded screening for memory loss in older patients into automated (electronic) admission assessments at all their acute-care sites.

MAAA hopes that the changes that its partners are developing and modeling will assure that people with Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia obtain the tools they need to cope successfully with the challenging demands of the disease.

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